My head needed time to stop spinning after trying to absorb fourteen straight hours of indie game screencasts and conversations between developers, hosts, YouTube personalities, and gamers. Alix and Calvin, the duo behind Legend of Dungeon, decided to give something back to the gaming community after having their game greenlit on Steam Greenlight. In one herculean effort, they conceived, planned, and executed the most ambitious online showcase of indie games ever. The Greenlight Supershow was a marathon of game demonstrations and discussion on Twitch. A new game each half hour for thirteen hours, plus some pre-show and post-show madness. This is my take on the whole experience.
Retrobooster was on the waiting list for a couple weeks because I heard about the show too late. Nine days before the show, Alix emailed and told me the 10:30pm slot had opened up. Some of the games on the list had been greenlit and were making room for new games. After all, the whole point of the show was to help promote games that had yet to be greenlit.
Preparation was much more complicated for RobotLovesKitty than for me. They were organizing participants and guest hosts, figuring out how to screencast twenty-six games, getting media attention, and innumerable other things I don’t know about. All I had to do was send them my game, write some notes on what to talk about, and email some press contacts. Active all week was a Skype chat room for the developers with games in the show. We covered plenty of topics: how to best present our games, who was contacting who in the games press, and cats on keyboards. Or was is lunch on keyboards? It was a pleasure to meet so many people with the same career goals. These people just want to make a living making games.
The show was to be on a Saturday. Hype was building the whole week before the show, and I saw an increase in Greenlight votes starting on Monday. There were articles published on news sites, such as Joystiq, Polygon, Indie-Love, and PixelProspector. The fellow who runs PixelProspector is actually the one who recommended that I contact Alix in the first place.
Alix put together a stunning list of guest hosts. Really, I was amazed. I didn’t realize how many there would be until the show was underway. She pulled in Alex Coccia, Landon Durnan, Jesse Cox, Ryan Letourneau, Nick Reineke, and Josh Mattingly. I had met Josh briefly at GDC, and he was the one who ended up playing my game live. I didn’t even know he would be on the show until about halfway through.
Watch live video from robotloveskitty on TwitchTV
Following the show, the traffic and votes on Retrobooster’s Greenlight page saw a modest spike, which is about what I expected. I suspect the real value from participating in a show like this comes from all the contacts you make in the gaming press and among other developers. Just this morning Alex Coccia reported his impressions of my game in this Retrobooster preview, and Pedro Mateus has inaugurated his Linux Let’s Play series with Retrobooster.
All that I’m saying here boils down to the Rule of Seven, which is an old marketing concept that says someone must see your product seven times before they take action and buy it. Of course, the number seven isn’t set in stone, but you can bet people need to hear about your game a lot more than once before they really notice it. Fortunately, the indie games community and gaming press are so active that the Rule of Seven is a realistic goal even for indie developers with no marketing budget. As proof, I offer the Greenlight Supershow. In how many industries would something like it ever happen?